The US Army is into increasing the operational readiness of infantry servicemen by providing small tactical units with relevant Infantry Squad Vehicles (ISVs). The purpose of which is to equip soldiers with operationally relevant transportation equipment that allows for better comfort and readiness.
According to Steven Herrick, the representative of the Army’s Exec. Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support, doing so enhances the physical and mental conditions of infantry men when about to go into battle.
In 2020, the US Army awarded the contract to build the ISVs, to General Motors (GM) after a developmental testing of the options submitted by three vendors. General Motors Defense won the contract to produce a total of 2,065 ISVs, with a commitment to produce 649 units at the end of Army’s 2024 fiscal year. The contract fot the 649 vehicles alone is valued at $214.3 million.
Overview and Assessment of GM’s ISV
General Motors actually delivered the first ISV 120 days after the contract was signed, which a report says is designed after GM’s 2020 midsize truck model, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. The GM ISV delivered consists of 90% commercial parts, including the 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine with its 186-horsepower. In addition to the vehicle’s performance race components it’s also customized with rollover protection system.
While the related assessment report states that the GM ISV “is operationally effective for utilization as a troop carrier,” it isn’t operationally effective to use in terms of combat and engagement. Although capable of launching air assault missions, it’s deterrence capability and security cooperation against a near-peer threat, is dependent on a permission environment.
Issues Noted Were Mostly with the ISV’s Combat Readiness Features
The report mentioned that due to the poor results of the developmental tests with regard to the reliability and efficiency of the ISV for training, safety, maintenance and integration with human systems, the GM ISV prototype delivered was deemed “not operationally suitable.“
By the way, the assessment and report, which was published in January 27 of this year, came from the office of The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. Aside from the repeated issues pointed out in the FY 2020 version, new problems emerged after the ISV was tested in the rigid Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
GM designed the vehicle to make transport to operational environments easier in line with the infantry division’s rotary- and-fixed-wing transport platforms. However, this leading original equipment manufacturer (OEM) must figure out a way of meeting the key performance parameters required by the Army. The ISV must fit inside a CH-47 Chinook cargo helicoptenot, while not exceeding 5,000 pounds, including the weight nine soldiers that it will carry. GM is expected to meet the requirements by May 2022.
The Army’s chief weapons tester remarked on the vehicle’s lack of protection against ballistic threats and incapability to avoid enemy detection. In the majority of test missions conducted, the vehicle was unable to return fire accurately as well as avoid ambushes.
However, readers are reminded that such requirements are for army standard Infantry Squad Vehicles or ISVs. The deficiencies noted by the chief weapons tester in the prototype delivered were mostly about combat readiness rather than operational efficiency. Those looking to purchase a standard GM Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, can easily find one at Earnhardt Auto Centers in any of the 19 dealerships located in Phoenix, Arizona.